REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Feb. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Codexis, Inc., announced today that it has appointed Dr. Arnold Demain to its Industrial Advisory Board. Dr. Demain will advise the company in developing novel and dramatically more efficient fermentation based processes for natural product based pharmaceutical active ingredients using Codexis' proprietary MolecularBreeding(TM) and Whole Genome Shuffling technologies. Dr. Demain has been in the forefront of industrial microbiology and biotechnology for over four decades and has been involved in the research and commercialization of a number of fermentation based pharmaceutical processes. He is currently a Fellow at Drew University's Charles A. Dana Institute for Scientists Emeriti. Previously, Dr. Demain was at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for 32 years, where he most recently served as Professor of Industrial Microbiology in the Department of Biology. Before going to MIT, Dr. Demain spent fifteen years at Merck & Co., where he held various positions in R&D and management focused on fermentation microbiology. He founded the Fermentation Microbiology Department at Merck and directed research and development for several products, including monosodium glutamate, vitamin B12, streptomycin, riboflavin, cephamycin, fosfomycin and interferon inducers. In 1969, he joined MIT, where he set up the Fermentation Microbiology Laboratory. Since then, he has published extensively on enzyme fermentation, biosynthesis of beta-lactam antibiotics and other secondary metabolites, vitamins, mycotoxins, mutational biosynthesis, bioconversions and metabolic regulation of primary and secondary metabolism. His leadership in the area of fermentation is evidenced by over 470 publications, 10 books of which he is coeditor or coauthor, 20 U.S. patents and his election to the presidency of the Society for Industrial Microbiology in 1990, membership in the National Academy of Sciences in 1994, the Mexican Academy of Sciences in 1997 and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in 2001. Codexis' Industrial Advisory Board is comprised of recognized world leaders from leading pharmaceutical and fine chemical companies and academia having broad business and scientific experience. Dr. Demain will work alongside its other members: Dr. David Dodds, Dr. Ian Fotheringham, Dr. Peter Pollak and Dr. Roger Sheldon. "Arny's addition to our Industrial Advisory Board highlights Codexis' commitment to utilizing our proprietary MolecularBreeding(TM) and Whole Genome Shuffling technologies to significantly improve fermentation processes for high-value natural product based pharmaceuticals," stated Alan Shaw, President and Chief Executive Officer of Codexis. "Codexis has an established track record of improving fermentation based pharmaceutical processes. In addition to our recently announced partnership with Lilly in the area of Whole Genome Shuffling, we have successfully implemented our MolecularBreeding(TM) technologies for fermentation processes currently being employed at commercial scale by DSM and Pfizer. Our Whole Genome Shuffling platform has the potential to revolutionize strain development for natural product and semisynthetic drugs, including antibiotics, anticholesterolemics and immunosuppressants. Together these product categories represent over $50 billion in annual formulated drug sales and are key targets for Codexis. Outside the pharmaceutical area, the Whole Genome Shuffling platform can help enable fermentation processes for a wide range of biologically-based chemicals, monomers, flavors and fragrances and biomass-derived fuels for alternative energy production and sustainable development." "Often in fermentation-based syntheses, critical process characteristics like productivity, yield and minimization of byproducts are controlled by extremely complex metabolic mechanisms within the production microorganism," said John Grate, Vice President of R&D and Chief Technology Officer. "The classical approach to fermentation strain improvement involves random mutations and massive screening for stepwise improvements. More recently developed genetic engineering approaches involve performing fundamental research to understand the complex mechanisms. Both of these strategies are laborious, costly and time consuming. In contrast, Codexis' Whole Genome Shuffling utilizes a strategy based on naturally occurring processes to rapidly evolve fermentation strains without requiring any knowledge of the underlying biological mechanism or the use of genetic engineering protocols. The end result is an improved strain which can produce a greater amount of product in a shorter period of time with less unwanted by-products." Codexis, Inc. is a provider of biocatalysis and fermentation processes and products to the life science and fine chemical industries. Codexis' proprietary MolecularBreeding(TM) directed molecular evolution technologies allow for the rapid discovery and development of improved or novel processes for the efficient and cost-effective synthesis of valuable chemicals utilizing breakthrough biocatalysts and production strains. Codexis provides its customers with R&D services, proprietary biocatalysts and fermentation strains, processes, synthetic and natural products. Codexis has eight strategic alliances in the chemicals field, and over 24 potential products and processes in its R&D pipeline, with seven product candidates in development, including three processes now operating at commercial scale, with two generating royalty payments. The company is a majority owned subsidiary of Maxygen that commenced operations as an independent company in October of 2002.
SOURCE Codexis, Inc.